Blu-ray Disc Review
Distributed by: 20th Century Fox (Searchlight)
Film Year: 2008
Film Length: 121 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
Video Codec: AVC @ 28MBPS
Disc Size: BD-50
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish
Film Rating: R
Release Date: March 31, 2009
Starring: Dev Patel (Jamal K. Malik), Anil Kapoor (Prem Kumar), Saurabh Shukla (Sergeant Srinivas), Freida Pinto (Latika), Madhur Mittal (Older Salim), Azharuddin Mohammed Ismail (Youngest Salim), Ayush Mahesh Khedekar (Youngest Jamal)
Screenplay by: Simon Beaufoy
Directed by: Danny Boyle
Love and money… You have mixed them both.
Taking home best picture at the Oscars and winner of four Golden Globe Awards, Slumdog Millionaire is the story of a young boy from Mumbai, who is raised in the slums and yet finds himself winning each level on the Indian game show of Who Wants to be a Millionaire?. How does an uneducated boy from the slums know the answers to these questions? For Jamal, the answer is life experience.
The film answers these questions for us using lengthy flashbacks as he’s being questioned in the police station. He’s being held there because several people believe he is cheating for the money, but as the questioning session unfolds, Jamal explains how he knows these answers. It’s an interesting look into the youth of the boy, the experiences growing up, and director Danny Boyle has done a great job merging Jamal’s character, his experiences in the slums, and life beyond. It’s also refreshing to see a film like this that doesn’t take place in America because that could have been the cheap way out for this story. As a result, the movie was very entertaining and certainly good, but I’m not sure it’s deserving of Best Picture. It’s well written, has great acting (the kids are amazing), but the overall story just seems nothing out of the ordinary. It’s possible that it got the thumbs up because all of these things just “worked” when put together.
VIDEO QUALITY: 5/5
This Blu-ray will not disappoint. Except for the television scenes where Jamal is being challenged on Who Wants to be a Millionaire?, which have a bit of video noise from HD cameras do differentiate it from the rest of the film’s storytelling, the image is awesome. Clean black levels help intra-image contrast in many specific shots, such as when Latika is crouching outside in the night’s pouring rain while Jamal and Salim boys are huddled dry in their cubby hole. Detail is awesome in both wide and close shots showing the fine detail that can be delivered by Blu-ray. The DVD can not articulate this. Colours feel natural in this video presentation; they are never too aggressive or muted. There is no hiding the raunchiness of the slums: you can almost smell it! Shot with both film and HD cameras, the result is a very nice convergence of both technologies. There is no noticeable edge enhancement to artificially sharpen this image.
AUDIO QUALITY: 4/5
The charged music soundtrack of Slumdog Millionaire makes the movie fun and exciting. Beyond the music, sounds effects are more aggressive than the average mix. When they kick in, all channels are engaged during the action: running through the slums, the crowds with the landing helicopter, the millionaire talk show – all provide some ambience and a little bit more. Yet, there are other moments when the channels appear silent for a while or provide minor ambience while dialogue is the focus. Most dialogue appears as ADR, and most of it is put in the mix fairly well without sounding too forward or room dry. I used re-EQ on this title because it was a bit bright without it. The mix is 5.1 and encoded with DTS-HDMA.
TACTILE FUN!!: 2/5
TRANSDUCER ON/OFF?: ON
Plenty of LFE invades this soundtrack. Music seems to be dominating here and it gives the room the extra kick it deserves. If using a bass shaker, it doesn’t feel annoying, in fact, it makes the music easy to follow along to and enhances the storytelling.
SPECIAL FEATURES: 2/5
This Blu-ray disc is packaged with the BD and a digital copy. The DVD is available separately and not combined like the Marley & Me release. I like the three disc releases since it probably doesn’t cost much more to include the DVD (I think it would cost more for dual inventory). Anyways, here are the special features included:
IN THE END...
The Slumdog Millionaire is good video demo material, has a good soundtrack, and a nice collection of special features. I recommend taking a look at this film and this disc for all that it is worth.
April 16, 2009.